Code of Practice
The following document sets out the companies “Down in the Woods ltd” codes of practice and conduct when dealing with clients, staff and regulators.
For clarity of reading the terms “we” “the company” “I” and “DITW” will refer to a company trading under the identity of Down in the Woods Ltd and its officers.
Our commitment to you the client
We use a rigorous and thorough recruitment and selection processes to ensure that only people who have the appropriate proven knowledge and training and who are suitable to provide our courses are allowed to enter our workforce.
The company is committed at outset to clear and simple communication of our terms and conditions of business which including explanation of the charges and fee structure codes of practice that are followed and any complaints procedure.
The company will ensure that all practice is protected by the required public, and professional indemnity insurance at all time, a copy of the policy may be inspected upon written request from head office. Down in the Woods Ltd is covered to a level of £5,000,000 for Public Liability and £10,000,000 for Employers Liability and is insured as an Outdoor Activities Provider. Down in the Woods clients are advised to provide their own personal insurance cover from a well established company, e.g. Insure & Go.(www.insureandgo.com), Please note the conditions under ‘Hazardous Activities’ in their insurance policy with regards to “working with hand tools”. For international courses, clients are advised to ensure full cover against cancellation of a course.
The company carries out background checks on all staff and check for criminal records and relevant registers and indexes i.e. enhanced CRB checks and assessing whether people are capable of carrying out the duties of the job they have been selected for. Any staff that comes into contact with children or young adults will have been checked and party to safeguarding training.
We accept responsibility to ensure that sufficient supervisory arrangements (staffing levels and teaching ratios) are adhered to within the risk-assessed guidelines that are available on request to any HSE staff or inspector.
We provide all employees clear information regarding their roles and responsibilities within the company, and policies and procedures they must follow in their work. We ensure that all employees are provided with our codes of practice regarding client safety and welfare (additional copies are held at head office)
We manage the performance of staff to ensure the highest quality. We provide a structure for ongoing maintenance and development both personally and professionally to continually challenge and uphold continuing professional development. The company will disclose if requested any proof of qualification and competency and not infer or imply or refer to qualifications that have not been awarded.
Child Protection Policy Statement
Down in the Woods Ltd has a duty of care to safeguard all children involved in its activities from harm.
All children have a right to protection, and the needs of disabled children and others who may be particularly vulnerable must be taken into account.
Down in the Woods Ltd will ensure the safety and protection of all children involved in
Its activities through adherence to the Child Protection guidelines.
A child is defined as a person under the age of 18 (The Children Act 1989).
The aim of the Child Protection Policy is to:
- Promote good practice.
- Provide children and young people with appropriate safety and protection whilst in the care of the Down in the Woods Ltd.
- Down in the Woods Ltd wants to ensure that all staff/volunteers can make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues.
Promoting good practice:
Any form of Child abuse in particular sexual abuse, can arouse strong emotions in those facing such a situation. It is important to understand the feelings generated and yet not allow them to interfere with the judgment as to which is the appropriate response.
Abuse can occur in many situations including:
- Outdoor activity environment.
Some individuals will actively seek employment or voluntary work with young people in order to harm them.
Part of our response as a company is to ensure that all staff and volunteer’s that come into regular contact with our clients have an up to date CRB check.
Any employee, assistant or volunteer that comes into contact with our clients, children or vulnerable adults in our care will have regular contact with young people and be an important link in identifying cases where they need protection. All suspicious cases of poor practice should be reported following the guidelines in this document.
Good practice guidelines
All personnel should be encouraged to demonstrate exemplary behavior in order to protect themselves from false allegations. The following are common sense examples of how to create a positive culture and climate.
Good practice means:
- Always working in an open environment avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication.
- Treating all young people/disabled adults equally with respect and dignity.
- Always putting the welfare of each young person first.
- Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance with participants (e.g. it is not appropriate for staff or volunteers to have an intimate relationship with a child).
- Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust and empowering children to share in decision making.
- Keeping up to date with technical skills, qualifications and insurance.
- Ensuring that on activities or residential events, adults should not enter children’s accommodation or invite children into theirs without another adult member of the team present.
- Being an excellent role model – this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of young people.
- Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
- Recognising the developmental needs and capacity of young people and disabled adults – avoiding excessive training or competition and not pushing them against their will.
Securing parental consent in writing to act in loco parentis, if the need arises to administer emergency first aid and/or other medical treatment.
Keeping a written record of any injury that occurs, along with the details of any treatment given.
Practices to be avoided
The following should be avoided except in emergencies. If a case arises where these situations are unavoidable (eg the child sustains an injury and needs to go to hospital, or a parent fails to arrive to pick a child up at the end of an activity), it should be with the full knowledge and consent of someone in charge in the organisation or the child’s parents.
- Spending excessive amounts of time alone with children away from others.
- Taking or dropping off a child to an activity.
The following should never be sanctioned:
You should never:
- Engage in rough physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay.
- Share a room with a child.
- Allow or engage in any form of inappropriate touching.
- Allow children to use inappropriate language unchallenged.
- Make sexually suggestive comments to a child, even in fun.
- Reduce a child to tears as a form of control.
- Allow allegations made by a child to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon.
- Do things of a personal nature for children or disabled adults that they can do for themselves.
- Invite or allow children to stay with you at your home unsupervised.
Incidents that must be reported/recorded
If any of the following occur you should report this immediately to another colleague and record the incident. You should also ensure the parents of the child are informed:
- if you accidentally hurt a participant.
- If he/she seems distressed in any manner.
- if a participant appears to be sexually aroused by your actions.
- if a participant misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done.
Recruitment and training of staff and volunteers
Down in the Woods Ltd recognises that anyone may have the potential to abuse children in some way and that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with children.
Pre-selection checks must include the following:
All volunteers/staff should complete an application form. The application form will elicit information about an applicant’s past and a self-disclosure about any criminal record.
Consent should be obtained from an applicant to seek information from the Disclosure and Barring Service./ Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme / Access Northern Ireland (depending on Country).
Two confidential references, including one regarding previous work with children. These references must be taken up and confirmed through telephone contact.
Evidence of identity should be provided (eg passport or driving licence with photo).
In addition to pre-selection checks, the safeguarding process should include training after recruitment to help staff and volunteers to:
- Analyse their own practice against established good practice, and to ensure their practice is likely to protect them from false allegations.
- Recognise their responsibilities and report any concerns about suspected poor practice or possible abuse.
- Respond to concerns expressed by a child or young person.
- Work safely and effectively with children.
Responding to allegations or suspicions
It is not the responsibility of anyone working in the Down in the Woods Ltd, in a paid or unpaid capacity, to decide whether or not child abuse has taken place. However, there is a responsibility to act on any concerns through contact with the appropriate authorities.Down in the Woods Ltd will assure all staff/volunteers that it will fully support and protect anyone who in good faith reports his/her concern that a colleague is, or may be, abusing a child.
Every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned. Information should be handled and disseminated on a need to know basis only. Information should be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people, in line with data protection laws (eg that information is accurate, regularly updated, relevant and secure).
Information for social services or the police about suspected abuse:
To ensure that this information is as helpful as possible, a detailed record should always be made at the time of the disclosure/concern, which should include the following:
- The child’s name, age and date of birth of the child.
- The child’s home address and telephone number.
- Whether or not the person making the report is expressing their own concerns or those of someone else.
- The nature of the allegation. Include dates, times, any special factors and other relevant information.
- Make a clear distinction between what is fact, opinion or hearsay.
- A description of any visible bruising or other injuries. Also any indirect signs, such as behavioural changes.
- Details of witnesses to the incidents.
- The child’s account, if it can be given, of what has happened and how any bruising or other injuries occurred.
- Have the parents been contacted?
- If so, what has been said?
- Has anyone else been consulted? If so, record details.
- If the child was not the person who reported the incident, has the child been spoken to? If so, what was said?
- Has anyone been alleged to be the abuser? Record details.
- Where possible referral to the police or social services should be confirmed in writing within 24 hours and the name of the contact who took the referral should be recorded.
If you are worried about sharing concerns about abuse with a senior colleague, you can contact social services or the police direct, or the NSPCC Child Protection Helpline on 0808 800 5000, or Childline on 0800 1111.
Confidentiality and client information
We ensure that all client information whether personal or financial is protected and disposed of following the Data Protection act 1998.
Having systems in place to enable clients to report dangerous, discriminatory, abusive or exploitative behavior on the part of staff and other clients without the worry of reprisal and to provide a practice for dealing with these reports promptly, effectively and openly.
Provide written policies and procedures that promote a harmonious and equal opportunities environment for clients. All employees are encouraged to review their approach to the diversity of race, ethnic background, sexual orientation age and social status and to ensure that no behavior that could be deemed abusive to any client or staff member is tolerated.
The company ensure that all material used in advertising is true, accurate and in no way misleading to the prospective client and follows the ASA guidelines in force with regards to both printed and web based advertising.
At all times employees must to their best ability promote the company by being:
- Clean neat and suitably dressed for the task and environment.
- Honest and trustworthy.
- Communicate in an appropriate, open, accurate and straightforward way.
- Being reliable and dependable.
- Honoring work commitments agreements and arrangements made.
- Informing the company where the practice of a colleague may be unsafe or detrimental to the course delivery.
- Complying with law and the company’s health and safety policies and risk assessment’s at all times to provide a safe and nurturing environment in which to learn.
Our commitment to The Environment in which we work
At all times to promote a minimal impact policy to the environment in which we work. As a result of this the following action is taken.
Part of this approach is to ensure respect for our natural environment via education and practice.
All materials provided for courses are sourced in a low impact and sustainable method as is possible from renewable sources. We ensure the use of best practice e.g. correct pruning technique’s as laid down by the company are used. When removing material take it from ride edges or apply woodland management procedures such as scalloping. All material harvesting procedures aim to promote protection to the environment and species within it and to enhance biodiversity and regrowth of flora and fauna. Harvesting will take place in rotation to cause minimal impact and maximum regeneration whilst avoiding harvesting of materials where endangered species are feeding or nesting.
An example of this would be the harvesting of Nettles for cordage would be carried out from patches of Nettles once they have been checked for the eggs and caterpillars of the Red admiral and small Tortoishell butterfly.
Only staff with the relevant food preparation qualifications will be allowed to work with food. All hand washing and detergents used will be biodegradable e.g. ecover.
Environmentally friendly composting toilets are available to both staff and clients on site we would ask that the use guidelines are adhered to at all times.
All waste food and rubbish is separated and disposed of off site for recycling and minimum landfill.
Our Clients commitment to us as course providers / educators and conduct.
We expect all clients to attend courses booked in a prompt manner we maintain the right to exclude any client that is more than 30 min late for a course without good reason or prior notice.
We manage and run the courses on an alcohol and drug free basis any client found in position of alcohol or drugs (other than prescribed and for which we have been given prior notice) will be removed from the course and premises at their own cost and with no recourse or any refund.
We will not tolerate any form of aggression towards our staff whether it is physical or verbal.
We expect our clients to treat employees of the company and other clients with respect irrespective of their gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality or religious beliefs.
We reserves the right to remove any client(s) from the course at the instructor/leader’s absolute discretion without recourse to repayment for that course and against the client(s) will if necessary. Circumstances that may warrant exclusion from a course includes (without limitation): intoxication, use of non-prescription drugs, abusive behavior, inability to meet the rigours of the course from physical or mental reasons, or through lack of appropriate equipment. If you are in any doubt about your ability to meet the rigors of the course, please contact your GP before booking. For removal of any party under such conditions, Woodcraft School will not be liable to any losses as a result and Woodcraft School is also entitled to any reasonable costs arising from removal of said client(s) payable upon demand. In addition, parents, guardians or those in a position of similar responsibility are to ensure the behaviour and safe control of any children to the satisfaction of Woodcraft School.
We expect the client to take reasonable care and to whenever possible wear clothing suitable to the course they are attending to ensure minimal risk to themselves and others due to climate.
Down in the woods Ltd (DITW) courses take place in the outdoors, which by its nature is never completely free from hazard. While all reasonable precautions are taken to minimize the risks the client accepts that accidents including serious injury and death can occur without Down in the Woods Ltd being at fault. The client also recognizes that We are not responsible for loss or damage to the personal property of the client including vehicles, money, clothing and/or equipment. The client also recognizes attendance of a Down in the Woods Ltd course in no way qualifies him/her to teach the course content. We therefore accept no responsibility for any mishap occurring to third parties taught by attendees of any Down in the Woods course. We also take no responsibility for any mishap during a course from any instruction or information not given by DITW appointed instructors or assistants. DITW also takes no responsibility for any mishaps occurring as a result of the clients failure to follow instruction. DITW will only accept liability for physical injury to a client that is shown to result from negligence on the part of DITW.